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Enhanced business continuity, improved customer service and higher productivity are just some of the direct benefits that stem from optimised application performance.
An organisation’s servers are directly responsible for these performance levels, so naturally, it is important to monitor servers to ensure their healthy running.
Central processing unit (CPU), memory consumption, bandwidth and disk input/output (I/O) rates are all integral to checks which should afford IT administrators insight into system resource usage so that capacity and end-user experience can be optimised.
Below are four essential boxes that need to be ticked to facilitate comprehensive server monitoring.
CPU operations need to be supervised to ensure that running speeds are optimised at all times. Monitoring the CPU will enable IT administrators to establish warning thresholds so that specialists are alerted if CPU usage levels dip to a predetermined critical level.
Swift diagnosis leverages swift action; hardware may need to be added, or lengthy processes could be rescheduled to reinvigorate performance, giving the CPU time to return to normal operating levels in the quickest time possible.
Similar to monitoring CPU performance, monitoring the memory will allow IT teams to pinpoint random access memory (RAM) thresholds so that alerts are sounded should RAM usage escalate pre-set levels.
Consuming too much RAM too quickly slows up the entire server unit, leading to sluggish performance of critical applications which can easily affect a business’ bottom line if issues are left undetected and unresolved for unnecessarily long periods.
The condition of the network interface can be measured through monitoring bandwidth, the health of which will be gauged by data comparisons against predetermined key performance metrics. These metrics may include stats such as input and output traffic speed; the number of sent and received error packets (units of data), and the number of sent dropped packets.
Almost all internet applications use TCP – the transmission control protocol – to get packets from A to B. Packets can sometimes get lost if the transmission medium flips, and if packet losses become too high, then the TCP may run out of buffer space which can slow down transmissions dramatically.
For network analysis to be useful, each packet needs to be analysed itself – the missing one could hold the answer to what’s malfunctioning within a network.
The capacity and reliability of the server’s disk space is a key issue that requires constant monitoring. Disk space health also plays an important role in enabling IT staff to anticipate potential hardware malfunctions and put contingencies or updates in place to offset the impact of any potential downtime.
By maintaining and tracking drive performance levels, administrators can observe output trends and keep a tab on how quickly server disks are being consumed – a vital informer to making sure that capacity remains acceptable and constant.
IT staff can supervise read and write operations of logical disks on machines using effective I/O monitoring. Established protocols should hold critical thresholds for normal operation, with warnings being sent to administrators should these thresholds be broken.
Key aspects of concern within disk monitoring will include analysing reads-per-second and writes-per-second executed on a disk; the queue length (the number of outstanding requests a disk holds when the data is being collected), and the quantity of busy time – the percentage of elapsed time that the chosen disk drive was creating read or write requests for.
These server monitoring tips should mark the start of server daily welfare that ensures IT networks stay running at optimum levels. However, as server performance slows over time, IT professionals should upgrade on a regular basis to reinvigorate relative performance and to hopefully avoid any negative repercussions on a company’s reputation or bottom line.